Pennsylvania's governor called a Vermont college's decision to invite convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to give a commencement address "unconscionable" Monday, as a state legislative committee advanced a victim's rights bill designed to prevent those convicted of violent crimes from causing their victims "mental anguish."
Abu-Jamal, who is serving a life term in prison after being found guilty in the 1981 shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, addressed 20 students receiving bachlor's degrees from Goddard College. Abu-Jamal's remarks were made via a pre-recorded video. He received a degree from the 245-student liberal arts school in 1996 through a correspondene program.
The speech drew protests from law enforcement officers and Faulker's widow Maureen, who told FoxNews.com last week that the college's invitation to Abu-Jamal was "not appropriate" and "despicable."
The bill that advanced out of a Pennsylvania House committee on Monday would allow a victim to go to court for an injunction against "conduct which perpetuates the continuing effects of the crime on the victim."
"Nobody has the right to continually taunt the victims of their violent crimes in the public square," Corbett said Monday.
The proposal defines the conduct at issue as that which "causes a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish." It would allow victims or prosecutors to ask for injunctions "or other appropriate relief."
The legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania, Andy Hoover, said the measure was vague and too broad.
"The Legislature doesn't have the power to punish speech it doesn't like," Hoover said.
He said former offenders could end up being penalized decades after being released from prison for speaking about their experiences or on public interest matters.
"If enacted, this bill will likely have First Amendment troubles," Hoover said.
Abu-Jamal did not address the killing of Officer Faulkner in his recorded remarks, but rather encouraged the students to "think about the myriad of problems that beset this land and strive to make it better." Goddard College calls him "an award winning journalist who chronicles the human condition."
FoxNews.com's Joshua Rhett Miller and The Associated Press contributed to this report.